Wednesday, November 21, 2007

HD Radio and QVC -- looked good on paper.

The HD Radio Alliance sponsored a half-hour program on QVC last night. As the Alliance breathlessly announced in their press release:
"QVC provides a unique retail at-home environment that is ideal for helping even more consumers discover the cool new content and crystal clear sound provided by HD Digital Radio," said Peter Ferrara, president and CEO of the HD Digital Radio Alliance. "When QVC shoppers see the wide variety of stylish HD Radio receivers and discover the benefits, they are going to want to experience the digital upgrade immediately."
Interestingly enough, that press release and the new Paragon Media study of HD Radio awareness (41% among radio listeners, of which only 9% understood that it required an HD Radio receiver) arrived in my news aggregator about the same time.

So I decided to watch the QVC special aired last night to see exactly how they would pitch this technology with very little consumer awareness (or interest).

Friday, November 16, 2007

HD Radio: too little, too late

Face it, folks...when you add it up, HD Radio as a platform will never be competitive with satellite or Internet radio on a value for value basis for the end user.

HD Radio PAD: solutions in search of problems?

HD Radio's proposed "possibilities" seem out of touch to me because of the sheer proliferation of communication platforms in general. When FM was introduced, it was basically just another way to do one-way radio. It took decades to take over, but it did it in a world of three mass media platforms (print, TV, AM radio). FM had time to make its mark, and the public didn't have to learn anything new (though they did have to buy new receivers). HD Radio's propositions seem bound in this FM radio world view -- the idea that it will reach near-ubiquity because FM radio did. But HD Radio is entering a market that has not three major mass media platforms, but perhaps 10 or more (depending on how you count). Not to mention that one of the mass platforms out there today -- the Internet -- is not a medium but a transport system that can carry ANY medium. Why should I, as a consumer, adapt my listening habits and spend more money on a media format that's basically an update of the 20th century's greatest hit when I could simply shift over to a multimedia device that can get me audio, video, text and still photos and has a wider reach than any one radio station?

All this said, I do think an HD Radio rollout is called for, if for no other reason than multicasting. I'm just deeply concerned that the "neat" stuff HD Radio "could" do is oversold and cannot possibly deliver -- not technologically, but in terms of market acceptance.

‘Anti’ IBOC Alliance Membership Grows

WYSL owner Bob Savage says he has more than 90 members for his new anti-IBOC alliance which I mentioned in my last post.

None wished to be identified by name.

“For the most part these people are not bomb-throwing reactionaries but are radio pros who are genuinely concerned about IBOC’s adverse effects on AM radio,” he tells me. The entries also include “many accounts of serious interference” he says.

There are a few DXers, ham operators and other “civilians” among that group; however, he said, the majority are broadcasters who represent a cross-section “from the small-market guys all the way to major-market 50 kW AM stations.”

One anonymous “confessional entry,” he says, “loses sleep over being forced by management to install HD-AM, which he regards as an ethical transgression, because it generates harmful interference. He’s certain that if his name and station got out he would lose his job.”

Saturday, November 3, 2007

HD Radio: Not Everyone is Touting its Virtues

Is HD Radio a farce? That’s the question which asks. Over the past year or so I’ve received some email from engineers, ham radio operators, and audiophiles who have decried HD Radio as being less than promised and troublesome to others. Here’s a recent email from a site visitor, Bob, who recently wrote: